Media Release

The Property Lawyers Action Group (PLAG)

PLAG LAUNCHES CHARTER

Charter

The recently formed Property Lawyers Action Group has published its charter containing its core principles and beliefs.

Why was PLAG formed?

There are several reasons. But let us look first at recent history.

1970s

During this period, the Law Society was still a respected professional body. Politicians envied its reputation and so would snipe at it accordingly. In a sense, the Law Society was at the height of its influence.

The 1990s and later

The idea for a review of legal services had its genesis following Labour’s election in 1997. So, in 2004 politicians welcomed with open arms the ‘Clementi Report’ which resulted in the passing of the Legal Services Act 2007. (Act) and therefore for politicians, an opportunity to ‘clip the wings’ of the profession.

Position of Lawyers Today

What is the state of the legal services sector today –

a disciplinary process for solicitors now purged of the principles of natural justice;

a disciplinary process with no equality of arms for the accused;

a front-line regulator hungry for even more powers (SRA);

a primary AML role imposed on lawyers, coupled with a chilling power for the SRA, to levy unlimited fining powers on solicitors;

the SRA using other fining powers without proper checks and balances ;

LSB consulting with front-line regulators about ramping up law firm’s complaints’ procedures, including redress for clients who have not even complained;

a disastrous fall-out for lawyers from the Post Office Horizon IT Scandal;

trade groups and other vested interests, pushing the ‘amazonisation’ of the home-buying process, but operating in a digitised veil of ignorance; and

the possibility of huge sums being levied on the legal profession, because of the cumulative effects of the Metamorph ABS collapse, the Axiom Ince scandal, and others.

Existential Threats

Because of the Act, the LSB and the SRA’s competition and consumer policies appear inimical to the profession’s historic roots. PLAG argues that such policies have no place in the modern rule of law in the UK. Put simply the Act has been a disaster, not only for solicitors, but also for the vitality of the rule of law itself.

The rule of law for many citizens in 2023 has become just empty rhetoric. Lawyers need air to breathe when practising law, but, increasingly, semi-broken regulation is suffocating their ability to practise law in a modern, agile manner, while still remaining based on ethical principles.

Leadership

PLAG wants leadership from the Law Society on those issues which matter to lawyers in 2023. But sadly, The Axiom Ince scandal has shown all too clearly that the Law Society seems incapable of providing any such inspiration and leadership. This is why PLAG has been formed.

Notes to editors

1 A copy of the founding charter can be found here: The Charter – The Property Lawyers Action Group (plactiongroup.co.uk)

2 Please contact us via contact@plactiongroup.co.uk if any comment is required on either this media release or the PLAG Charter.

Start the discussion at The Property Lawyers Action Group Forum